Evil God Average / Evil God Average Chapter 04
Is in a sense one of the few (almost) completely serious chapters in this story.
It’s a little depressing, so readers who are bad with it are advised to skip this chapter and read only the final three lines.
In the dark dungeon filled with despair, she was the only one who extended her hand to me.
This year was a bad harvest.
When the slave merchants came to the village in their carriages, there was already nothing else we could do.
I have a father, a mother, a brother two years older than me, and a little brother one year younger. Because they needed the manpower of the boys, it was inevitable that I was the one sold.
Although I say ‘sold’, that wasn’t exactly correct. Strictly speaking, we entered a contract of debt with the slave merchants.
The slave merchants gave my father a loan, and I became the security. If my father couldn’t pay back the money, I would be sold as a slave. But from the beginning, we all knew that there was no chance of paying them back. It seems the slave merchants intended this as well because they told us that if we gave up on paying them back right away, they would give a better price.
While averting his eyes from me, father told the slave merchants right there that he couldn’t pay them back.
I had hoped that something fortunate would happen after this misfortune, but it seems that Sacred Goddess-sama wouldn’t permit such naivety.
There were two other slaves weak from disease, and out of worry of infecting the healthy ones, we were tossed into a heap on the carriage that held the luggage. The chances of being sold were lower because we were going to die, so the food we were given were less than the other slaves, but I couldn’t really find the appetite either.
By the time the carriage finally reached Riemel, I was already at death’s door.
In the slave merchant’s shop, the three of us were put into the same cell. It was a cell for slaves on the verge of death like us. Because it was a waste of money, we weren’t even allowed to wear clothing, and everybody just sat around the way they wanted. Even when we were first put into the cell, only half of the slaves in there made any response, and when I saw these people whose hearts had died in despair first, I felt heart chill over.
That was my future, and it wasn’t a far off one.
I was told by the slave merchants that slaves on the verge of death were sold off to be killed.
If we were sold, we would be killed. On the other hand, if we stayed unsold like this, then before long as well…
A body wracked with pain being corroded by disease, and a heart that was corroded by despair that went beyond that.
Customers came in before our cell a number of times, and the number of slaves in the cell decreased.
One day, the slave merchants brought another customer.
Most of the customers so far had been male, but although I couldn’t see their face under the black robe, this time they were probably a woman… And what’s more, somebody who only seemed a little older than me.
The moment I saw her eyes, my heart that should have been on the verge of death, the verge of stopping, was for some reason trembling.
“This girl is?”
“Her name is Tena, and she’s 14 years old. She was born in a village a little distance from Riemel, and is a debt slave, but on the way here she was attacked by a fatal disease and she probably only has a month left to live.”
I unconsciously flinched at the slave merchant’s words. Although I knew that I didn’t have long to live, hearing somebody else talk concretely about how much longer I had made the fear of death well up in me.
I don’t… want to die…
“If it’s me, then I might be able to save her.”
… … … … … …Eh?
Save me? Is she going to save me?
I looked at the black eyes that were staring in my direction, but they were serious and didn’t look like she was lying. And for some reason, when I look her in the eyes, my heart can’t stay calm.
“I don’t have any proof, but if you’ll believe and accept me, then take this hand.”
With her words, the woman stretched her arm into the cage and held her hand out to me.
I looked at her face and her outstretched hand, dumbfounded, but I decided to trust in my agitated heart and took her hand. It was a fact that I wouldn’t be saved at this rate anyway, so I decided to follow my heart.
They cleaned my body, and I was able to wear clothes for the first time in a while. I was in chaos from all the things that had happened while I was in a daze, but when they put on the collar for slaves when they dressed me, I was finally conscious of the fact that I was being sold. Because I was too weak to even walk, one of the servant men carried me into the shop and laid me on the floor.
“Please touch her collar with your hand.”
Doing as she was asked, the woman that bought me stretched her hand out to the collar on my neck. After touching it for a while, the collar shone with light, and I heard a voice from somewhere.
『You have been enslaved to Anri.』
It was in that instant, that the woman──Anri-sama, became my master.
“With this, she’s become your slave, and has absolute obedience to you. Because she can’t walk, would you like us to call you a carriage?”
“I don’t need it; I’ll carry her.”
I was slow to react to the surprising words, so by the time I had realised, Anri-sama had already picked me up and placed me on her back.
But still, although she was a woman and so she wasn’t particularly big, Anri-sama was surprisingly strong. No matter how light I had become from growing thin, I shouldn’t have been so light that a woman could easily carry me.
But still, just why did she buy me? There aren’t many uses for a slave on the verge of death, but no matter what, I couldn’t imagine her to be a person who wanted a slave for those purposes.
Just as I was wondering where she was carrying me to, Anri-sama entered an alleyway and placed me down in an empty plaza. Without knowing why I had been brought here, I just looked up at Anri-sama dumbly.
“You swore to believe in me.”
The first words I had spoken in a while came out hoarsely, but it seems Anri-sama somehow understood me. She pointed her finger at my forehead.
『You have received divine protection from Anri.』
Together with the voice from before, I was engulfed in something black. It wasn’t uncomfortable or painful, but I could definitely feel something inside me changing.
When the blackness disappeared, my appearance had completely changed. The clothing that had just been a hole in a cloth was now a high-class fabric decorated with ornaments, and the arms and legs that should’ve been nothing more than skin and bones had the meat return to them.
With no idea of what had happened, I was looking at my limbs and clothes when I suddenly noticed that the pain that had been always been plaguing me was gone. It was like the pain that wracked me even just breathing had all been a lie.
It wasn’t a lie… She saved me…
“Thank you very much! Thank you very much!”
While crying and feeling relief at having my life saved, I held Anri-sama’s hand as I continued to thank her.
After crying for a while, I paled at what I had just done. As a slave, I had clung to my master as I bawled. I might be sold out of anger for my disrespect. I don’t want to think that Anri-sama who saved my life would do something like that, but it isn’t anything strange to be sold because you angered your master.
Since I’d already done something terribly rude, I immediately obeyed and jumped straight up, so that I wouldn’t ruin her mood any further. Speaking of which, how long has it been since I was able to stand on my own? While thinking about stupid things like that, I waited in fear for her probable declaration of my abandonment.
“I want you to live at my home and do the housework and shopping.”
There were two things I couldn’t comprehend about her response, so I accidentally let out my voice. The first was that instead of being scolded like I thought, she went and left a task for me. The second was the contents of the task.
“T-, That would be absurd! Only, umm… is just that much fine?”
Because she seemed to condemn me, I shook my head in a fluster, but I couldn’t help but voice my misgivings about the task. People go out of their way to buy slaves because the jobs that are need to be done are terribly difficult, or things that normal people didn’t want to do. But despite that, Anri-sama just asked me to do jobs that normal servants did, and weren’t at all the jobs that were left to a slave.
“Just that is fine. But, I live quite far from town, so shopping is quite a task.”
Far from town?